Exposing plants’ deepest secrets: Their roots

May 16, 2023

Plant roots are important structures that anchor plants in the ground and help them absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The roots of plants are not only many but also long.

For example, a jujube tree on a hillside is generally three to four meters high, and its roots are more than ten meters deep; a wheat plant has more than 70,000 fibrous roots and is about 500 meters long.

The root consists of several layers, including the epidermis, cortex, and endodermis. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the cell that protects the root and helps it absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

The cortex is the middle layer of cells that stores starch and other nutrients that plants need. The endothelial layer is the innermost layer of the cell that controls the movement of water and nutrients into the plant.

One of the most important functions of roots is their ability to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. This is accomplished through root hairs, which are small protrusions that increase the surface area of the root and help it absorb water and nutrients more efficiently.

Root hairs also produce enzymes that break down complex molecules in the soil, making them more readily available to plants.

Another important function of roots is their ability to anchor plants in the soil. It can resist various disasters in nature, such as strong winds, heavy rain, flood, and so on. For the root system of a plant to grow tenaciously, it must develop a root system.

root system

The following two factors affect the growth of plant roots. Understanding these factors and how they interact can help gardeners and farmers optimize plant growth and increase crop yields.

Soil physical environment

Soil’s physical environment includes soil temperature, humidity, pH value, soil aggregate structure, soil aeration, etc. When the soil water content reaches 60-80% of the maximum water-holding capacity, it is most suitable for root growth.

Excessive drying can easily cause root embolism and self-thinning. Excessive humidity will inhibit the respiration of the root system, resulting in growth stagnation or rot and death.

Soil nutrition

Under general soil conditions, roots can grow normally, so soil nutrition is generally not a limiting factor, but organic fertilizer is beneficial for trees to absorb roots, and nitrogen fertilizer can increase organic nutrition through leaf photosynthesis, and phosphorus and trace elements (boron, manganese, etc.) have a good impact on root growth. However, if the soil is poorly aerated, some elements will be converted into harmful ions, causing root damage.

Soil nutrition

Causes of dead roots in the planting

Dead roots can be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental stress, soil conditions, diseases, and pests. Regular monitoring and maintenance of soil conditions, watering, and pest control will help prevent root damage and promote healthy plant growth.

Continuous cropping causes a large number of pathogenic bacteria to multiply, which directly affects root health.

The long-term use of chemical fertilizers has caused serious acidification of the soil. The organic matter and trace elements in the soil are seriously deficient, the beneficial biological bacteria lose their living environment, the harmful bacteria multiply and become disasters, and the roots are damaged by fungi, resulting in rotten roots.

The soil is hardened and poorly aerated, which affects the healthy growth of roots.

Abandonment of soil management intensifies soil consolidation. As a result, the living soil layer is in a serious hardening state for a long time. After the rain, the soil ventilation is poor, and the roots are suffocated and a large number of leaves fall.

By understanding the internal and external factors that affect root growth, we can promote strong and healthy roots, which ultimately lead to healthy plants. By understanding the secrets of a plant’s root system, we can gain a deeper understanding of the extraordinary ways plants thrive in nature.

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